Premiership Rugby Cup Breakthrough Player – Round 3 nominees
Following an exciting Round Three of Premiership Rugby Cup action, Premiership Rugby are delighted to announce that Leicester Tigers’ Tommy Reffell and Manu Vunipola of Saracens have been shortlisted for this season’s Premiership Rugby Cup Breakthrough Player Award.
Launched in 2012, the Breakthrough Player Award celebrates and recognises under-23 players who have stood out in the tournament, with previous winners including the likes of Jack Nowell and Jonny May, while last year’s gong was taken home by James Grayson as he led Northampton Saints to the title.
Using OPTA match statistics, a forward and back from each round, along with two players with outstanding overall competition statistics, will form a ten-man shortlist, which will be submitted to a fan vote.
The winner will be announced prior to the Premiership Rugby Cup Final, with the lucky recipient also receiving a watch courtesy of Premiership Rugby partner Citizen.
So now let’s take a look as to why Tommy Refell and Vunipola have been added to the list, with Aaron Hinkley of Gloucester Rugby, Harlequins’ Gabriel Ibitoye, Sean Reffell of Saracens and Worcester Warriors’ Ollie Lawrence having already found their way onto it following the opening two rounds…
Forward – Tommy Reffell (Leicester Tigers)
Age – 20
Position – Flanker
Minutes – 71
Tries – 1
Metres – 24
Breaks – 1
Tackles – 18
Turnovers Won – 3
Leicester Tigers’ Tommy Reffell put in an impressive shift in defence against Bath Rugby, making 18 tackles – a tally only five players could better across the weekend – and winning a round-high three turnovers for his side. Although he had limited opportunities with ball in hand the 20-year-old gained 24 metres from just two carries, while he also capped his display off with a try.
Back – Manu Vunipola (Saracens)
Age – 20
Position – Fly-half
Minutes – 80
Tries – 1
Goal kicking – 100%
Metres – 50
Breaks – 4
Defenders Beaten – 6
Tackles – 12
England U20s star Manu Vunipola was in fine form for Saracens as they claimed a comprehensive win against Northampton Saints, crossing for an excellent individual try in the process. Vunipola slotted all four of his kicks from the tee, while he made four clean breaks – a tally only two players could better – and beat the joint fifth most defenders in the round.